There are very few pictures of a PT-17 flying over Americus, Georgia, in 1941. I had found one yesterday. It was before December 7th, 1941.

Rare picture indeed…

Robert F Shay Jr

It was posted on this page of this Website. [broken links] I had to contact the webmaster.

Glad I did.

This is the original rare picture of a PT-17 flying over Americus, Georgia.


Primary Flight Instructor Robert Shay Jr was teaching a young cadet to fly it. 

Flight Instructor Shay

Robert F. Shay Jr

The young cadet has to be a young RAF recruit training in Americus, Georgia, like Theodore Griffiths DFC.

PT-17 in the background

Unknown instructor with Theo Griffiths

Stephen Shay was kind enough to send me some pictures with this message…


My dad was a US Army flight instructor stationed in Americus, GA from 1940-1941. He went down there from a small airfield he and others hewed out of an old orchard in Penn Yan, NY in upstate NY in the beautiful Finger Lakes. He and Harold Middlebrook and John Oliver Goodrich were from the same small town, were pilots and answered their countries call as instructors in the Army Air Corps. They all flew and instructed on Stearman PT17s. I have attached four photos taken by Robert Shay during that time.

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The picture of the lone pilot was Robert F. Shay Jr. He died at the age of 82 in FL in 2000. The photo of the two pilots includes Bob Shay and Johnny Goodrich, both instructors from Penn Yan, NY. The plane inflight over GA had Bob Shay in it at the time.

Dad’ flight log is extant, but I cannot locate it at the present time. I know that my Dad and his life long friend Johnny Goodrich rented a couple rooms from a family in Americus, GA. It seems that with very little seat time, many young boys were sent off to fight the war in Europe out of dozens of fields like the one in Americus. I thank God for the work these instructors and students did in preparation for combat.

Rev. Stephen Shay (USMC)


PT-17s at Americus, Georgia

PT 17 Americus GA

Bob Shay and Johnny Goodrich

Now people looking for a PT-17 flying over Americus, Georgia, will find this blog.

I sure hope someone related to Harold Middlebrook or Johnny Oliver Goodrich would find it.


37 thoughts on “Americus, Georgia, 1941

  1. Here’s a training picture, one of me is with my instructor at Harewood, Christchurch, New Zealand flying Tiger Moths, seen in the background.The others are taken at the Dedication of the Bomber Command Memorial last year and the most recent last Friday in Vancouver.

      1. so sorry! I was into another blog, “Paratroopers”. I have no explanation for my comment on your blog. However I just visited your blog and it is fabulous, I enjoyed the incredible pictures and post. Please excuse the gaffe.

      2. No problem. This blog pays homage to a little known Mosquito squadron based at Little Snoring. I think I wrote more than 300 posts…but who’s counting.


      3. Great job I will be back over to check them out. I am a huge history buff! Thanks so much

      4. Start with the first post. Some amazing stories evolving from people finding this blog.
        Everything is true.
        Take your time.
        One post a day will take you a whole year.

      5. When you are over this one I have some other blogs.
        You will probably read my posts in 2025…

      6. have some family trees sent to me by various family members but have not pursued anyone further.

      7. my Dad was stationed in Warner Robins, Ga, he was in the Air Force. I will check out the link, thanks!

      8. I am of welsh descent…I am sure there are lots of American’s with French-Canadian ancestors/family.

      9. 900,000 French-Canadians emigrated to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries, a little like Mexicans in the 20th century.

      10. I had no idea…I am from Florida, we get a lot Canadians on holiday here, French and otherwise.

      11. I know. Some of them give us a bad reputation, at least that’s what someone told me.
        We are very nice people. Always lending a helping hand.
        You will see what I mean when you start reading my blogs.

  2. Great pieces of history gp, rarely do we get to see pictures that are hidden away in family albums.
    Each and every one portraying a unique part of the war years.
    Thanks for the share.

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